A corporal taunted a 20-year-old trainee Muslim soldier calling him “P *** Rambo” and “carpet runner” while another trainer learned Arabic to call his mother a whore in her native language, according to the trial
- Rifleman Kasem Salem claimed he was nicknamed “P *** Rambo” from a movie
- Suspected coworker learned Arabic specifically to call his mother a whore
- Was also claimed that he was told he could not parade over fears of a “suicide bomber”
A trainee soldier claims he was racially abused by his British Army instructor who called him “P *** Rambo” after watching the comic film Four Lions.
Corporal Robert Mehers is charged at court martial with mocking Rifleman Kasem Salem over an eight-month period and also calling him a “carpet rider” while undergoing basic training.
The court heard he had called the Muslim soldier a series of racist names, while another instructor – Sergeant Christopher Tolley – allegedly learned Arabic for “your mother is a whore” so he could insulting Rfn Salem in his native language.
It was also claimed that Sjt Tolley told the 20-year-old soldier that his father was not allowed to attend his beret parade because he might be a ‘suicide bomber’ and that ‘his car might contain a bomb “, but he denied that and the case against him was thrown.
Chris Morris’ comedy Four Lions – which stars Riz Ahmed – was a hit in 2010 and followed a group of local jihadist terrorists from Sheffield, south York.
Prosecution Captain Daniel Lawlor said Cpl Mehers and Sjt Tolley were instructors at the Infantry Training Center in Catterick, North Yorks in 2019.
Rifleman Kasem Salem claimed he was nicknamed “P *** Rambo” from the comedy film Four Lions
Corporal Robert Mehers is accused at court martial of mocking rifleman Kasem Salem over eight months
He told Bulford Military Court, Wilts, that various “racial epithets” were used at the center.
Rfn Salem started his infantry training in April 2019 with 5 rifles, having left Egypt for the UK in 2012 with his father.
He said he was treated equally in his first week, but began to be marginalized following a meeting with instructors, during which he spoke at length of its culture and religion.
Rfn Salem told the court: “I decided to join the military because my father and father served, so it’s a tradition.
“I was very open about my religion, my faith and my family… we talked about my beliefs and my culture.”
He told the court that Sjt Tolley and Cpl Mehers were initially very understanding and went “the extra mile”, making sure he set up times for everyone to pray, that his food needs were met and saluting him. with “hello, how are you” in Arabic.
They also had “cultural understandings discussions” with the recruits where they were able to ask questions on sensitive topics.
But Rfn Salem said he called himself “P *** Rambo”, “Egyptian” and “Carpet Rider” more regularly throughout his training and that he started to feel “singular” as a result. of his religion and his education.
Sjt Tolley was found not guilty following testimony by Rfn Salem and comments by Mr. Wylde
The court martial was heard at the Burfold military tribunal and continues today
Rfn Salem alleged that Sjt Tolley spoke to him in Arabic to say “your mother is a whore”.
He said: “In my culture, if someone disrespects my mom or dad, it’s a huge disrespect. So for someone who is not from my culture and who speaks my own language … it is a great lack of respect. ‘
Instructors deny making any of these comments.
Ed Wylde, representing Sjt Tolley, told the hearing that Rfn Salem called himself “P *** Rambo” after he and other recruits watched the satire “Four Lions”, in which one of the characters uses this phrase.
Mr Wylde said he even ran around the accommodation block “pretending to be a terrorist” shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “other absurd words” and used “Allahu Akbar” as his ” rallying cry “when attacking training dummies during bayonet practice.
He said the young soldier was “the driving force behind the comedic variation of this stereotype”.
Sjt Tolley and Cpl Mehers were both charged with mistreatment of a subordinate, but Sjt Tolley was found not guilty following Rfn Salem’s testimony and Mr. Wylde’s submissions.
The court ruled that the evidence against Sjt Tolley was not strong enough for a case to be decided and ordered the council to return a verdict of not guilty.
Cpl Mehers denies the mistreatment charge and the trial against him continues.